Life Rewired Shorts: Cyborgs by Cecilia Valensise

a brown eye
6 Sep 2019
5 min watch

Documentary maker Cecilia Valensise explores the transhumans already walking amongst us in the latest film in our Life Rewired Shorts series. 
 

Where did the inspiration for Cyborgs come from?

Cyborgs is a film about people who engage in biohacking. Identifying as cyborgs, they’re using implants and technology to extend the sensory range. The cyborg’s aim is to reveal a reality that already exists rather than create a virtual experience. The film takes an optimistic view on the possibilities offered by technology and shows that it can provide a sense of community and belonging. It challenges the dystopian notion that the advancement of technology is inherently negative and isolating.

The film opens up the discussion about what it means to embrace technology as a reality of our time and think about it as something to be used organically rather than something alien to us.

Transhumanism calls for a political representation of people who do not feel exclusively human but feel closer to other species

How does your film respond to the ideas behind Life Rewired?

The work of the cyborg community resonates with the Life Rewired subject. It features advances in human technology but also very much interrogates what these technological innovations mean for humans. Challenging the notion that humans are stuck with the body they’re born with, the cyborg community is keen to explore the emergence of new identities rooted in technology. Transhumanism calls for a political representation of people who do not feel exclusively human but feel closer to other species.

They’re also arguing for the rights to use and modify their own bodies and experiences as they see fit. Moving on from medical implants that are designed for individuals who are injured or incapacitated, the cyborgs seek to incorporate technological implants to augment and diversify the senses. The movement is gaining in popularity and it will be interesting to see what the future holds in terms of new legal and medical regulations but also in terms of new markets for wearable senses and implants.

It felt exciting to find a community of people who believe in the possibilities of technology as a place to discover new senses but also as a place to connect to others and their environment

Can you explain the process behind the making of your film?

I’ve been interested in how people feel about technology, from the internet, AI and homemade implants for a while, how it’s often seen as a threat and an external power that only recently took over. Scaremongering over the threat of technology seems at odds with the way it is present all around us. When I started looking into cyborgs and biohackers it felt exciting to find a community of people who believe in the possibilities of technology as a place to discover new senses but also as a place to connect to others and their environment.

It’s only by really engaging with technology that we can really make sense of it and think about the best uses for it. Kevin Warwick, who is referred to as the godfather of cyborgs has been investigating these possibilities since early on in his career, from a scientific angle. Operating in a university setting, he was one of the only people in the world to connect his nervous system to another person’s - his wife. The cyborg foundation lab, based in Barcelona, represents the new generation of biohackers today. Combining research and art, they’re at the forefront of experimentation in terms of experimentation in biohacking in Europe.

What does the filmmaker of the future look like?

The tools might change but the challenges will be the same ...

Or they will look like cyborgs.

About the filmmaker

Cecilia Valensise is a filmmaker and journalist based in London. A graduate of the NFTS Summer Doc school, she has produced documentaries for broadcast TV (BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, Channel 4, Sky) and digital platforms (VICE) as well as worked on music videos with emerging artists. With a keen interest in character led films, she is interested in intimate portrayals of communities and new forms of visual story-telling.

Life Rewired Shorts